The Handbag inventory – anthologies #5

It’s been 11 months, 6 days and 4 hours (give or take a few minutes), since I bought a new handbag. Technically it’s been a lot longer than eleven months, since I bought new.

My last handbag purchase was a vintage Hermes Kelly bag from the 1990’s – so not exactly new. A black box “retourner” with gold bijouterie- Tracking it down was an emotionally exhausting experience, not to mention a financially ruinous one. You should have seen what it did to my fashion budget. It was a massacre!

Anyway, at the time I promised myself – no more bags for a year- and I am a (wo)man of my word.

vintage Hermes Kelly bag from the 1990's - so not exactly new. A black box retourner with gold bijouterie- Tracking it down was an emotionally exhausting experience, not to mention a financially ruinous one

Kelly bag from the 1990’s – so not exactly new. A black box retourner with gold bijouterie- Tracking it down was an emotionally exhausting experience, not to mention a financially ruinous one

A moment of peace, to take in a proper inventory, of what I have, what I actually use … and what should go to find new wardrobes and new fashion adventures.

After a little handbag clear out – another deeply traumatic experience, but it has to be done. We have limited wardrobe space and detest the smell & feel of clutter so to speak. I currently seem to have 10 hand bags, so the madness is under relative control.

Handbag musings
#For my London lifestyle, dark, muted colours work best. Black, brown and navy get lots of use. Metallic, gold, silver or pink bags- lovely as they may be – are too high maintenance and don’t suit the daily grind. I bought them for ‘special’ outfits, but realistically I don’t use them enough. A bag needs to be used regularly, to become part of you- so to speak. Otherwise it looks awkward.

Vintage is very much an acquired taste - not everyone looks good carrying a 30 year old bag.

Vintage is very much an acquired taste – not everyone looks good carrying a 30 year old bag.

# A variety of sizes is good, to cover all eventualities Although I don’t like very large bags, some capacity is essential, but beware of suitcase sized bags. Small cross body bags are also a life saver, for those days when ‘hands free’ is a must

I have shoulder bags, cross body, clutches and hand held. The most versatile combine all functions. Handheld are my favourite, but they need to be light- very light.

I have shoulder bags, cross body, clutches and hand held. The most versatile combine all functions. Handheld are my favourite, but they need to be light- very light.

# weight and function used to come after beauty, but not any more. Heavy bags, no matter how beautiful have no place in my wardrobe. Having said that, I walk & cycle everywhere, if your lifestyle includes driving everywhere, it may not matter so much.

# I have shoulder bags, cross body, clutches and hand held. Handheld are my favourite, but they need to be light- very light. Also I don’t like chains, sorry Chanel. I make an exception for you, but chains are not practical in the summer, they leave an imprint in the skin. (ouch) they can also ruin the line of my well tailored jacket. Quelle horreur!

# Vintage is very much an acquired taste – not everyone looks good carrying a 30 year old bag. At the other end of the spectrum, IT bags are like leather pants and can only be carried successfully, by IT girls. They don’t look so hot in the suburbs.

# It’s worth spending lavishly on the grab’n’go bag, rather than on the special occasion mini clutch. In my case, I find the Kelly 32 is very easy for daily life – so a good buy. The Kelly pochette needs more planning, to justify one as essential. If you do buy a clutch, try to buy a simple one that can be used during the day, for quick breakfasts, casual lunches, cinema visits or drinks. If I only used mine for glitzy events it would never see the light of day.

# When reviewing my budget, I realised with horror, how handbag heavy it was. So I spend the last 11 months “upgrading” the wardrobe to be of comparable standard. Perhaps, not every single piece of clothing is ‘Perfect’, but everything is a hell of lot better than it used to be, in terms of good fit, excellent quality and passable ethics.

 If you do buy a clutch, try to buy a simple one that can be used during the day, for quick breakfasts, casual lunches, cinema visits or drinks. If I only used mine for glitzy events it would never see the light of day.

If you do buy a clutch, try finding a simple one, that can be used during the day, for quick breakfasts, casual lunches, cinema visits or drinks. If I only used mine for glitzy events it would never see the light of day.

Beware of succumbing to the imaginary lifestyle handbag. Too big, too small, too heavy or too pink!

Beware of succumbing to the imaginary lifestyle handbag. Too big, too small, too heavy or too pink! Or too ridiculous?

 A bag needs to be used daily, to become part of you- so to speak. Otherwise it looks awkward.

A bag needs to be used daily, to become part of you- so to speak. Otherwise it looks awkward.

Vintage Chanel is always sought after. But is it just a collectors piece or can it be used?

Vintage Chanel is always sought after. But is it just a collectors piece or can it be used?

New with retro feel. What do you think?

New with retro feel. What do you think?

So – how many handbags have you got in your wardrobe? Come on everyone own up…Spill the beans…

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Mini Kelly pochette

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21 thoughts on “The Handbag inventory – anthologies #5

  1. couldashouldawoulda9

    I’m a hand bag nut. I really like them and that is the one constant in my life since I was 5. Still got my first handbag and I love it still. Only reason I can rationalise it. Plus they still “fit”! Hehe but I think I have 20 or so but I won’t count them. 😉

    Reply
  2. Antonia

    Hi Lady Sarah! I loved reading this post-you are so very inspiring!! I also have about 10 bags and when it gets higher than that, I feel the need to sell. I can’t handle more than that in my closet-I don’t have a super huge closet so I have no choice but to keep everything streamlined. My handbag budget is so high too-I can’t help it! Wow you must have some restraint to not buy a new handbag for a year! I really don’t think I could do that. Someday I hope to own a Kelly. I have other Hermes items like a Kelly dog bracelet, a large silk scarf, and a twilly-you gotta start small, you know??

    Reply
  3. Heidi

    I’m a shoe person at heart, so I have 5 handbags, two for each season and one that works for both. But I do have a few clutches – 5 or 6 maybe? that work for day or some just for evening things. I have just bought another two handbags recently though, so two of the existing will be going to their next life. Enjoyed reading this!

    Reply
  4. happyface313

    🙂 I always love reading your posts. This one especially. Your Kellys are beautiful.
    I don’t mind a new bag, but I’m perfectly alright with a vintage bag, if it’s kept well.
    Haven’t counted my bags yet. But I have too many and I need to sell a couple, as I have way too many.
    Have a very HAPPY day 🙂

    Reply
  5. Virginia

    Lady Sarah, I am so envious that you have a vintage store with beautifully displayed bags!! I would go crazy. As stated before I cannot do sensible colors except navy and grey. My bags are burgundys, blues, pinks, purples! I’m afraid I would not fit in in London. At least not in proper society!

    Looking forward to a New, new bag for you. Maybe gris? With Palladian hardware!

    Reply
    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      Hiya! I will warn johnstons of Elgin that you are coming. 😃 I ve been looking for a really good straw bag for the summer. No luck yet. The LSH is hinting about getting me a new Kelly for my birthday….

      Reply
  6. dottoressa

    You are ” the iron lady”, Lady Sarah! This is great post,you are an expert and you have wonderful,stylish capsule wardrobe and a beautiful bag collection. Simply the best!
    Time for a new bag?
    Dottoressa

    Reply
    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      Ha ha😃 Counting the minutes when I will let myself loose again! There is an elusive straw bag somewhere on the horizon for me… Soon I hope. I don’t need anything for this winter. I saw the max mara bags irl – they are lovely and very discreet. I think the days of overt logos have been & gone…

      Reply
  7. silkpathdiary

    You are the embodiment of self restraint and discipline! I love that all your bags get regularly and often used and looked after. So have you chosen your next bag yet?
    I stopped counting at 25 … however, I’ve got my girls to think of but still I simply cannot avoid an edit *le sigh*.

    Reply
      1. silkpathdiary

        It’s basically the same as usual and like yours on shelves above and below the hanging clothes in my wardrobe. But I have additional shelves on the walls and the spare room that I do not want to fill up but just to use for items in rotation. I will post about it all.

  8. Nicola

    My handbag ‘collection’ needs a complete overhaul. I have perhaps 6 or 7 bags*, but as I am completely clueless when it comes to putting a wardrobe together nothing really works with my outfits . Having read the excellent advice on this site I think I *finally* know where I’ve been going wrong 😉 Just don’t tell my bank manager that I’m plotting a little edit-and-spree in the New Year…

    *not counting the Le Pliage or the gorgeous straw market bag I picked up in France.

    Reply

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